NetJets has ordered 50 Bombardier Global business jets and optioned an additional 70. The order encompasses all members of the Global family, including the Global Express XRS, the Global 5000 and the newly launched Global 7000/8000. The firm order is valued at US$2.8 billion. If all options are exercised, the total value of the order will surpass US$6.7 billion. The firm order comprises 30 Global 5000 Vision and Global Express XRS Vision aircraft, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 4Q2012. It also includes 20 firm orders for Global 7000/ 8000s. Deliveries of these aircraft will begin in 2017. NetJets Pres Jordan Hansell describes the Global family as "an excellent complement to our existing large cabin capabilities and overall fleet." NetJets Chairman & CEO David Sokol adds, "We are taking advantage of the current lull in the private aviation market to position the NetJets fleet for the future. Although we anticipate 2011 to be another difficult year, when Bombardier begins deliveries of these aircraft we will be ready to satisfy the market's demand."

A Chinese company plans to buy Cirrus Aircraft, the Duluth MN light aircraft builder. Terms of the transaction were not released but the deal is estimated to be worth $200 million. The deal requires government approvals and could close by mid-2011 but a group of US investors could put together a counter­offer. Cirrus Pres & CEO Brent Wouters (photo L) says all manufacturing would continue in the US and there are no immediate plans by the potential buyer, China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA), to build Cirrus aircraft in China. He says the deal will help the company expand globally while creating jobs at home. Cirrus Aircraft was owned by its founders until 2001, when a 58% share was sold to the Bahraini firm of Crescent Capital (now known as Arcapita). Cirrus employs nearly 500 workers at a plant in Grand Forks ND and the final assembly facility in Duluth.

Hawker Beechcraft has opened a new facility in Chihuahua, Mexico. The 180,000 sq ft facility includes sheet metal assembly for King Air turboprops and Hawker jet products, as well as electrical assembly. HBC opened its first facility in Chihuahua in 2007 to handle the manufacturing of light sheet metal assembly, and currently employs approximately 400 people. With the opening of this new facility and a sheet metal fabrication facility later this year, the company's footprint will be nearly 500,000 sq ft and employment will reach approximately 1000 people.

Gulfstream has signed a sales agreement with Hainan Airlines Group for a single long-range G450 and 4 ultralong-range G550s for operation by the airline's bizjet subsidiary, Deer Jet. The aircraft will enter service in 2012. Deer Jet, based in Beijing, owns or manages more than 20 Gulfstream aircraft, making it the largest Gulfstream operator in China and one of the largest in the world.


Maintenance & overhaul

Atlanta GA-based Precision Aviation Group (PAG) has acquired Peachtree City GA-based Gardner Aviation Specialist (GAS), an FAA repair station specializing in avionics installations, "glass panel" upgrades, aircraft maintenance and MRO services. According to PAG Pres & CEO David Mast, the purchase allows PAG to expand its services on fixed and rotary-wing aircraft and also expand its own internal MRO capabilities in one acquisition. GAS has a 35,000 sq ft hangar at FFC (Falcon–Peachtree, Atlanta GA).


Gulfstream has opened an inflight support center, which will help troubleshoot inflight situations faster. There, specialists can induce faults into simulators to mirror what is happening in flight. The 3 cubical-sized simulators in the center feature 10–12 LCD touchscreen monitors with displays of the aircraft's cockpit, instrument panel and pedestal. Using a computer and Windows-based software, the graphic simulators offer the tactile experience of a much larger full motion simulator, including warning indicator sounds and flight displays that change as inputs are made. The simulators are manufactured by FlightSafety Intl. The facility is located at Gulfstream's SAV service center.


A recently finalized bilateral aviation safety agreement between the US and the European Union is a welcome step forward for transatlantic cooperation, says AIA Pres & CEO Marion Blakey. She adds, "The agreement strengthens longstanding safety cooperation, which has led to higher, common standards between the US and Europe. GAMA Pres & CEO Pete Bunce agrees, saying "it will streamline transatlantic regulatory cooperation on certification, continued airworthiness and maintenance."


OXF (Oxford, England) has gained usable runway distance with the declared takeoff distance for its runway increased by 896 ft, or 21%. Licensed takeoff distances are now 5223 ft and 5112 ft, allowing more business aircraft types to achieve MTOW or near-maximum performance from the airport for the first time. In late 2010, the airport received its largest ever aircraft, an Embraer Lineage 1000. Operated by Hangar 8, it can easily undertake transcontinental flights from OXF.


Jet Aviation Flight Services of TEB is the first company to achieve IS-BAO registration for both its Part 91 and 135 aircraft management operations. "Achieving IS-BAO status requires building processes and systems that support our corporate priorities," says VP & General Mgr Don Haloburdo. "Our first priority is getting our clients safely and securely to their destinations while providing premium services. Our IS-BAO designation indicates that we stand behind that commitment."


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